Whiskey is a distilled alcoholic beverage that has a brownish or golden color, aged in wooden casks. There are two ways to make whiskey, from fermented grain mash or from distilled beer. Whiskey made using fermented grains may come from any of the following: barley, corn, rye, or wheat, or other grains. It is because of this that whiskey production is an industry in places where the production of grain is a major industry.
In 2018, the global whiskey market was valued at USD 57.96 billion with a projected growth of 6.4% in the coming years. To date, the UK is the largest exporter of whiskey. American whiskey brand Jack Daniels emerged as the number one selling whiskey worldwide in 2019.
Drinking whiskey offers several health benefits. It helps prevent the buildup of cholesterol, relaxes the arterial walls, increases blood flow in the body, and lowers the risk of stroke. Drinking whisky also aids in digestion, helps lower the risk of dementia, helps relieve stress, and eases the symptoms of colds and flu.
- In the US and Ireland, it is spelled “whiskey”, but in Scotland and Canada, it is spelled “whisky” without the letter “e”.
- In the US, September is the National Bourbon Heritage Month.
- Historians believe that the origin of the term “whiskey” is the anglicization of the word “uisce” which, in Classical Gaelic, means water.
- Iconic American singer Frank Sinatra was buried with a bottle of his favorite whiskey – Jack Daniels.
Whiskey Buying Guide
When buying whiskey, it is important to know what the words that are usually associated with whiskey (i.e. single malt, Scotch, etc.) actually mean. These words usually describe how the whiskey is made, where it is made, and what it is made of, among other things.
Malt whiskey is what they call whiskey made from malted barley. Whiskey that is made from other types of grains is simply called grain whiskey. When whiskey is described as ” single malt whiskey”, it means that it is produced from a single distillery that uses one specific malted grain, produced by mixing whiskey stored in several casks to achieve flavor. Blended malt whiskey means it is a blend of different single malt whiskies produced in different distilleries. Finally, blended whiskey is produced using a combination of several different whiskeys.
All of these styles of producing whiskey are generally practiced in all of the whiskey-producing countries today, and there are several of them: American whiskey (and Tennessee whiskey for brands that adhere to the standard required for this particular label), Australian whiskey, Canadian whiskey, Danish whiskey, English whiskey, Finnish whiskey, Georgian whiskey, German whiskey, Indian whiskey, Irish whiskey, Mexican whiskey, Japanese whiskey, Scotch whiskey, Swedish whiskey, Taiwanese whiskey, Welsh whiskey, and whiskey made in the Isle of Man.
Whiskey Production & Farming in Texas
Bourbon, a specific type of whiskey, is very popular in Texas. The bourbon industry in Texas is just entering its second decade of production; in fact, the very first Texas distillery to secure a permit to make whiskey is the Garrison Brothers in 2007 – just very recently, compared to the age of whiskey tradition in other parts of the US and the world, and yet this still very young industry has given birth to many creative, innovate, award-winning, and world-class distillers and distilleries all around Texas.
To protect this industry and create a uniquely Texas bourbon identity, local businesses joined forces to form the Texas Whiskey Association and the Texas Whiskey Trail. Many Texas distilleries today produce bourbon. Some of the top bourbon whiskey made in Texas include Balcones, Garrison Brothers, Herman Marshall, Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co., and Blackland Distilling, to name a few. The reason for the high production of bourbon whiskey in Texas is the availability of corn, which is a key component in producing bourbon whiskey. Corn plantations in Texas measure up to a combined total of 2 million acres that yields an average of 105 bushels per acre with an average of 285 million bushels annually in the last five years.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
Whiskey that carries that label “straight whiskey” should only contain three ingredients: grain, yeast, and water. Whiskey that is not labeled as straight whiskey has additives. In the US, it is common for whiskey to contain at least 2.5% additives. Some of the additives found in whiskey are peach juice, wine, and syrup to manipulate the way the whiskey tastes, and caramel coloring or E150a to turn the whiskey’s color into a darker shade of brown or gold.
Whiskey is sold in a glass bottle sometimes placed inside a box or metal tin can. Glass bottles vary in size and shape for different brands and types of whiskey. Whiskey products also vary in label design and box design. When certain whiskey companies release special edition whiskey, the design of the packaging is usually different from the design of the packaging of regular whiskey products. Some whiskey packaging is just plain while other whiskey companies have intricately-designed whiskey packaging.
There are a lot of ways to drink whiskey. Have it neat served on a shot glass. You can also drink whiskey very casually and pour it in a regular glass and drink neat, on ice, or mixed with other liquids to make a cocktail. Whiskey has been used for making different cocktails, including old fashioned, whiskey sour, and Irish coffee.
The ideal condition for storing whiskey requires a cool temperature ranging from 15 to 20° C. Unlike sake or vodka which are traditionally taken neat and cold, whiskey is usually taken at room temperature because this is the best way to enjoy the taste and flavor, while those who want it cold can request for whiskey on the rocks. This is why it is not necessary to store whiskey in the freezer, especially since whiskey is less flavorful when it is cold.
Make your own Bourbon Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned is a favorite cocktail for those who appreciate the simplicity of this mix that allows you to enjoy the taste of whiskey as it complements the sweet and sour notes emanating from the other ingredients put in the glass. Knowing how to make your own old fashioned cocktail is an important step towards maturity and independence as a whiskey enthusiast. This is a great drink to make if you are entertaining friends or colleagues from work. It is great for sipping even for those who are not formidable whiskey drinkers.
This recipe yields one glass of Bourbon old fashioned cocktail.
- High proof bourbon, 2 ounces
- Water, 1 teaspoon
- Sugar, 1/2 teaspoon
- Angostura bitters, 3 dashes
- Orange peel to garnish
- Ice cubes
Step 1. In a glass, put sugar and bitters.
Step 2. Add water. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Step 3. Add the ice cubes.
Step 4. Add the bourbon. Gently stir.
Step 5. Gently squeeze the orange peel before putting it inside the glass.